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Area Elementary Students Play with West Michigan Symphony May 7

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2013-04-20 19:32:07 - Students who have spent the year studying music using Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program through a partnership with the West Michigan Symphony will demonstrate their new music abilities at a special concert on Tuesday, May 7.

Area Elementary Students Play with West Michigan Symphony
in Unique Performance – Thanks to Carnegie Hall’s Link Up Program

Muskegon, Michigan, April 19, 2013 –

More than 4,000 third-fifth graders from 50 elementary schools across West Michigan will be both audience and performers in three concerts at the Frauenthal Center in downtown Muskegon. The elementary students have spent the year studying the orchestra and its instruments, as well as how to read and play music on the recorder, through Link Up, a free program brought to the public schools through the educational outreach efforts of the West Michigan Symphony.

WMS is the only orchestra in Michigan affiliated with the Link Up program of Carnegie’s Weill Music Institute. The WMS Link Up partnership includes

professional development in the fall for teachers, classroom visits from WMS professional musicians, curriculum materials, assistance with transportation and a highly interactive Link Up concert.

The Symphony has raised more than $60,000 to support the 2012-13 program. For the third year, the Symphony will host three performances to accommodate increased demand from area elementary students.

Back-to-back concert performances will take place at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. utilizing Link Up’s “The Orchestra Rocks!” curriculum for the second time. The symphony will perform seven classical and pops pieces, inviting its student audience to join in by playing their recorders, singing or moving. They will be joined by the Mona Shores high school drum line under the direction of Jason Boyden and local actor and comedian Nicholas Dressel, who will host the concert.

“Our students, their parents and teachers look forward to this concert all year,” said Karen Vander Zanden, WMS director of education and community engagement programs. “We are fortunate to be able to offer the Link Up program to so many schools in the region.

“Not many beginning music students have the chance to enjoy – and participate with – a professional symphony orchestra. It is an exceptional opportunity for the students to learn by being truly engaged with the material.”

Vander Zanden and Music Director Scott Speck spend months enhancing the script provided by Carnegie. The interactive performance, which is free to teachers and schools, allows the students to see and understand how the orchestra moves together. General tickets for the public, which is welcome on a first-come, first-served basis, are $5, which is used to defray the costs of the program.

“By getting kids involved with the music in such a holistic way, we are really able to help them develop a much deeper understanding and appreciation,” Speck said. “We can illustrate how music can be more than just listening to different pitches, rhythms and dynamics. We also can play along, sing or dance, and think about how the music makes us feel.”

Students have spent the year in classrooms from Muskegon to Hudsonville to Sparta learning to play their recorders. They receive instructional visits during the year from WMS musicians who have adopted schools through the program.

In addition, as part of the Link Up program, the Weill Music Institute provides participating schools with:
• Curriculum guide and CD for teachers featuring lessons on singing, playing the soprano recorder or violin, reading and notating music, and composing and improvising music
• Workbook for each student
• Professional development for teachers and orchestra administrators
• Complete concert script, repertoire list and accompanying visuals
• Access to Carnegie Hall's Online Resource Center with educational materials, including the Link Up Beginnings skills-focused curriculum and audio for teachers and students
• Ongoing support and consultation in the areas of professional development, program implementation and media/publicity planning
“The concert provides students with a wonderful opportunity to show what they have learned to their teachers and parents,” Vander Zanden said. “It is always a fun day for our musicians, too, as they watch the excitement and joy of the children as they perform.
“For many of these students, it will be their first time in a concert hall. This is our ninth year of participating in this program, and we have found it provides a tremendous experience for students.”
Parents and those interested in attending should call the WMS ticket office at 213.726.3231, ext. 23 to reserve a seat since the concert typically fills up.
About West Michigan Symphony
As one of the few professional regional orchestras in Michigan, West Michigan Symphony has played a leading role in the region’s cultural community for nearly 75 years. Founded as the West Shore Symphony Orchestra, WMS now serves a regional audience with eight pairs of concerts annually, along with dozens of educational and outreach activities for children and adults. WMS oversees operations for the West Michigan Youth Symphony. For more information, visit

Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall
The Weill Music Institute creates broad-reaching music education and community programs that play a central role in Carnegie Hall’s commitment to making great music accessible to as wide an audience as possible. Woven into the fabric of the Carnegie Hall concert season, these programs occur at Carnegie Hall as well as in schools and throughout neighborhoods, providing musical opportunities for everyone, from preschoolers to adults, new listeners to emerging professionals. For more information, visit

Erin Nemastil
Phone: 6166330642

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